Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has the Senate.
The ongoing tally of yesterday’s midterm elections shows that a majority of those likely to win the 12 available national Senate seats are allied with the controversial head of state.
This includes Cynthia Villar, who is currently number one in the polls, based on partial, unofficial results aggregated from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) data as of 9:16am today. She currently has 24,299,170 votes based on 93.91 percent of Election Returns, a report generated by vote-counting machines in polling precincts that show the counts for national and local elections.
Duterte campaigned for Villar, who is a part of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) alliance formed by first daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Senatorial candidates currently in the top 14 include:
- Cynthia Villar
- Grace Poe
- Bong Go
- Pia Cayetano
- Bato de la Rosa
- Sonny Angara
- Lito Lapid
- Imee Marcos
- Francis Tolentino
- Koko Pimentel
- Bong Revilla
- Nancy Binay
- JV Ejercito
- Bam Aquino
Of the 14, 10 candidates are part of HNP. At the bottom of the list is Aquino, the only member of the opposition Liberal Party to rank in the top 14.
Controversial figures likely to join the Senate are Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos; former police chief Bato de la Rosa, who launched the war on drugs; Duterte’s former aide Bong Go; and former Senator Bong Revilla, who was accused of stealing taxpayers’ money in the pork barrel scandal of 2013.
With a landslide by the Duterte camp likely in this year’s polls, the president will soon have influence over all branches of the government. Of the 12 incumbent senators who did not have to run for re-election and will retain their seats until the next presidential elections in 2022, at least three openly support Duterte. This makes the majority of the Upper House Duterte allies now.
Duterte gained control of the House of Representatives and the military soon after he became president in 2016. The ouster of Duterte critic and then-Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno last year was also seen as a way of gaining control of the Supreme Court (SC). Of the 14 SC justices today, seven were appointed by Duterte.
The results from yesterday’s polls indicate that it’s about to get even easier for Duterte to execute his plans for the country, which include continuing the deadly drug war that has killed thousands, bringing back the death penalty, and changing the constitution.